The memories come back so easily.
The Hail Mary. The go-ahead touchdown. The title-clinching stop.
And the cold. Oh, the cold.
Defenders on the 2011 Windsor High School football team didn’t wear sleeves. It’s a thing of toughness, of course.
But in the Class 3A state title game, they did. It was bitterly cold Dec. 3, 2011 at Legacy Stadium when the Wizards beat Silver Creek 14-7 to win the school’s third football state championship.
With Windsor back in the title game and ready to face Loveland at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, the memories of the 2011 game are flooding back for those who played in it.
Windsor went up 7-0 at the end of the first half on a Hail Mary from Joe Sanger to Jacob Molina. The run-heavy offense caught Silver Creak off guard with the long pass. Silver Creek rallied to tie in the third quarter.
Windsor took the lead in the fourth on a short run from Sanger, set up by a fake punt run by Jordan Porterfield.
Then came The Stand. Silver Creek’s offense was led by quarterback Austin Apodaca, who played at Washington State before transferring eventually to New Mexico, where he played against CSU this season.
The Raptors were driving for the game-tying touchdown in the final minutes before the Wizards stopped Silver Creek at the 1, with Caleb Smith recovering a game-sealing fumble.
“I still get kinda some goosebumps thinking about it,” said Lucas Watts, who was a junior linebacker in 2011. “I remember that last play that we made on defense on the goal line. I remember running down the sideline swinging my arms. That was a heck of a play. That was a blast.”
Watts’ brother, Zach, is a playmaking sophomore on this year’s squad.
Aaron Schmidt was a senior who played both sides of the ball in 2011, and now his brother, Landon, does the same.
“I always told my dad that I wanted my last game to be a win,” Aaron said. “My uncle won a state championship as a senior, I won it as a senior, so I kept telling Landon he’d be the third one to take it as a senior. Now that he has that chance is awesome.”
In 2011, Windsor was the underdog after getting blasted 41-21 by Silver Creek earlier in the season. The Wizards got their revenge. They hope history doesn’t repeat in that sense, after Windsor beat Loveland 6-0 in the regular season this year.
Many of the players from the 2011 team still talk and reminisce about the win, especially this week as Windsor hunts its fourth title.
“I won a national championship down here last year,” said Watts, who played for CSU-Pueblo’s Division II title team last season and still attends CSU-Pueblo. “We won conference titles while I’ve been down here. I’ll tell anyone that asks that the state championship ring means more to me than anything else I’ve done in my career playing football.”
For updates from Saturday’s state title game, follow Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle.